The classical blogosphere is all a-twitter, if you’ll pardon the pun, about the incredible new iPad app, The Orchestra. Touch Press, in partnership with the Music Sales Group, conductor Esa-Pekka Salonen, and the Philharmonia Orchestra have crafted an app which allows users to interact with eight symphonic works in ways I couldn’t have even imagined in a pre-iPad world.
While watching the orchestra perform a piece, you can switch between three camera angles to view various musicians as well as the ever-present video of conductor Esa-Pekka Salonen. There is a dot-diagram of the orchestra which flashes in time with the music to show which sections of the orchestra are playing. You can also view full and reduced versions of the score. There is even an option in the Beethoven Symphony No. 5 performance to touch any section of the orchestra to hear the instrument(s) isolated from the rest of the group. And, if you’re the kind of person who likes having somebody talk while you’re listening to the music, you can turn on spoken commentary from Salonen and/or the orchestral musicians which runs along with each piece. If you’d rather read and listen to the music, the commentary is also available as subtitles.
Bloggers have given rave reviews to the app. Tom Service of Guardian.co.uk called it, “one of the most impressive bits of app-ology I’ve ever seen.” Mel Martin of Tuaw.com said that the app is, “about the best use of multimedia audio and video I’ve ever seen on any computer platform.” The only negatives I’ve read about this app is the hefty $14 purchase price doesn’t give users full access to all of the features. Additional in-app purchases can cost $.99 each. In addition, the app offers only excerpts from symphonic pieces, rather than the complete works.
You can check out a video of the app below.
- The Orchestra: iPad app combines Philharmonia Orchestra music, video, with vividly interactive instrument guide (boingboing.net)
- Daily iPad App: The Orchestra for iPad is a home run for classical music fans (tuaw.com)
- Classical music app is perfect (toledoblade.com)
- The Orchestra for iPad app review (telegraph.co.uk)
- Esa-Pekka Salonen, conductor and composer, moves in for the weekend (newscenter.berkeley.edu)